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Enabling collaboration with technological innovation

As custodian of the National Aerospace Technology Strategy, the Aerospace and Defence KTN works with a range of organisations to ensure its challenges are met

The UK aerospace and defence sector is the second largest within the global market, with total annual revenue amounting to £20.57bn in 2008, an increase of 3.53% upon the previous year. It remains an attractive market in which technological innovation attracts both investment and trade. The Aerospace and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network (A&D KTN) is a dynamic hub lending support to the UK?s ambition of developing technological innovation for use in leading-edge aerospace products. We connect the individual strands of the academic, industrial and government communities to provide a platform upon which innovative and inclusive collaboration can be built.

A sector-wide strategy

The A&D KTN is the custodian of the National Aerospace Technology Strategy (NATS) and works with government, industry, regional and academic representatives to drive it forward. The KTN?s voice is neutral, and so is able to impartially implement the challenges, potential areas for success and technological innovation, critical research themes and technology validation outlined by the strategy.

Technology roadmapping

The National Aerospace Technology Strategy is underpinned by technology roadmaps, which link global challenges and technological innovation that include anything from improving the environmental impact of aviation, to detailed research requirements. The NATS Technology Roadmaps visualise the many relationships that exist between the various interconnected programmes that make up the UK aerospace technological innovation process and supply chain. The maps show that research conducted at the science base is ultimately connected to industrial Aerospace Technology Validation Programmes, and that everything is strategically necessitated by global market drivers and products.

Why this is important

This implementation of the NATS enables UK aerospace to clearly articulate to all of its stakeholders across the sector the areas of technological innovation and investment focus needed to ensure the UK retains its ranking as the world?s second-largest aerospace economy in an increasingly globalised and competitive market. NATS provides the framework to translate science through to technological innovation and processes, from the research base through to market.

Since 2004, NATS has attracted combined industry?government investment of £464m across more than 80 projects and programmes which are already validating technologies that will lead to greater efficiency, safety and service in the next generation of aircraft. Current examples of technological innovation are the Airbus UK-led NGCW (Next Generation Composite Wing), the Rolls Royce-led EFE (Environmentally Friendly Engine), AgustaWestland-led REACT (Rotor Embedded Actuation Technology), and the ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation and Assessment) programme, which is being implemented by a cross-industry consortium.

Broadening the engagement

The A&D KTN identifies Knowledge Transfer activities to further the creation of collaborative partnerships with effective funding, in order to deliver technological innovation and programmes of technology research and development that are in alignment with the NATS.

To do this, we create connections between people and organisations that might not otherwise meet, or consider that their capability shows the potential to be applied within the aerospace sector, or that capabilities or technological innovation developed by aerospace companies could have significant impact in other areas of application. We focus our attention on where the optimum successes are to be found and target those audiences, creating less noise and greater value. By acting as a revolving door to the sector, if you walk in, we?ll spin you around and back out in the right direction! With our unique access to areas of the sector, we are able to deliberate the right direction for you via the following methods.


Increasingly, the A&D KTN is shaping a bespoke events portfolio designed to stimulate knowledge transfer, technological innovation and bring together decision-makers within the technological innovation process. In 2009, the A&D KTN led a succession of Simulation Showcases, where UK government departments presented their requirements of Simulation capability; the next phase will be to enable industry to brief government on possible solutions. In 2010, the A&D KTN will be creating yet more events, including our first conference, which will focus on the key themes of: Technology Identification, featuring the work of all 12 National Technical Committees; Investment Mechanisms, both public and private; and Broadening the Engagement, where figureheads from other sectors will address the delegation with their needs and the opportunity for the cross-pollination of knowledge and capability. Other events will include our third Annual Knowledge Transfer Debate for the UK Aerospace Academic community, and Showcases and/or Symposia in the specialist areas of Design & Manufacture, Simulation, Autonomous Systems, and Electronics Systems.

Throughout our events calendar, the A&D KTN will hold one-to-one sessions for members and delegates with specialist consultants in order to greater equip members, companies and individuals with knowledge on the best way to attract funds. Some of the events will offer member companies the chance to physically demonstrate their technology, technological innovation and capability in front of the audience.


The A&D KTN facilitates webinar conferences, hosted by specialists on a range of topics including European funding, Research Council funding, National Technical Committees and more. They are ideal for company representatives who wish to find out about burning issues of the day without having to spend time and money travelling across the country for face-to-face meetings. Our weekly e-newsletter continues to be circulated to all of our members, promoting key strategies, updates and events across the sector, as well as opportunities to meet and engage with the KTN.

For more information, to connect to NTCs or register specific requests, contact:

The National Technical Committees

Providing detailed advice with regards to the R&D programmes are the 12 National Technical Committees (NTCs). NTCs are points of contact of insight, acting as advisory groups to the other interested communities, the government annold other sectors. They relate to key technology themes that will be the foundation for future techogical innovation and technology research and development. NTCs currently operate for the following specialist areas:

  • Advanced Design & Manufacturing
  • Autonomous Systems
  • Electrical Power Systems
  • Electronics Systems
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Health Management & Prognostics
  • Human Factors
  • Materials & Structures
  • Simulation & Synthetic Environments
  • Sustainable Air Transport Services
  • Systems Engineering & Open Architecture

The KTN understands that inclusivity is the key to unlocking technological innovation throughout the nation, and understanding the critical technology themes throughout the sector.

If you would like to contribute to one or more of the NTCs, e-mail Sameer Savani at:


The Aerospace and Defence KTN ? who we are

Name Role E-mail
Ruth Mallors Director
Sameer Savani Operations Manager
Daniel Jones Co-ordinator
Peter Murray Researcher
Bettina Rigg Infrastructure


The Space Special Interest Group

The A&D KTN is host to the Space Special Interest Group, a pan-KTN interest group seeking to create a unified business voice into the recently-launched UK Space Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) Project. The purpose of the Space IGT is to involve the entire UK space community in setting out the challenges and opportunities that will govern its future value, competitiveness and hence growth. This will inform a 20-year strategy for the future of the British space industry that will see Britain become a leader in the world space landscape, as well as contributing revenue, jobs and value to the UK economy.

For more information on the Space Special Interest Group contact

Name Role E-mail
Ruth Mallors Director ? A&D KTN
Mel Witherow Space SIG Coordinator


Additionally a Space SIG area is available for viewing at:

Added the 14 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1

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Tags: Aerospace & Defence, UK aerospace, National Aerospace Technology Strategy, NATS